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The border between Scotland and England is a long contested stretch of scenery, as dramatic to look at as its history. While some of the battles here have been bloody, and there's a historic reputation for lawlessness, the Scottish Kings were also battling for 'hearts and minds' and built some impressive monuments to their wealth and power in the region. Some of the best places to stay in the Scottish Borders are the old manor houses and strongholds built to fortify and rule the area.
The Scottish Borders is about 1,800 square miles of land stretched below Edinburgh and The Lothians from the moors in the west to the Berwickshire coast in the east.
Hikers will know the Scottish Borders region as the northern end of the Pennine Way, a long distance walking trail which follows part of Hadrian's Wall from Edale to Kirk Yetholm. The Way finishes just beyond the most beautiful waterfalls in the whole of the British Isles.
If you want to walk across the Borders that's an option too, along the Sir Walter Scott Way, which passes between Moffat and Cocksburnpath.
These emerald mountains, jade valleys and purple-heather moorlands are also favoured by mountain bikers.
And these colours are also predominant in some of the best known fabrics produced by the region's historic textile industry.
History enthusiasts will enjoy the famous Borders abbey towns of Melrose, Kelso and Jedburgh, and those with a literary bent might be interested in taking a pilgrimage to Galashiels, near Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott, or visit Wigtown for its annual book festival.
The scale of the landscape, and its remoteness, means that one of the best ways to experience the Scottish Borders is by car. Plan a road trip to the towns and villages which most interest you, or else fly by the seat of your pants and discover the quiet majesty of the landscape and the beauty of the towns dotted throughout it.
Some of the most fascinating towns have no particular headline to sell themselves to visitors - which is why many people drive right through to Edinburgh, but they can easily become very special to you.
For a family friendly country escape
- Trigony House Hotel is easily one of the best places to stay in the Borders. It offers a home from home atmosphere and welcomes children and dogs alike!
For understated luxury
- The Windlestraw Lodge is an ideal escape if you crave peace and quiet in grand scenery. But when you return from your rambles you'll be coming back to good food, roaring fires and every comfort.
For country house grandeur
- The Roxburghe Hotel is a grand old county house well used to playing host to hungry sportsmen and women and keen explorers and now accepting paying guests to do the same.
Best Hotels in Borders
Caddon View 8 rooms from $65Peeblesshire, Borders
A 19th century country guesthouse nestled in the village of Innerleithen. Eight individually designed rooms still retain many of their original features. Relax by the fireplace or enjoy the many outdoor pursuits. Only 30 miles from Edinburgh this is the ideal country bolt hole.Great walks - Caddon View is an excellent location for walks of all grades around Innerleithen from forest to hill walking over the Minch MoorFishing - The River Tweed is famous for its salmon fishing but it also has an excellent run of sea troutRomantic - Good for couples.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide
Trigony House Hotel 10 rooms from $135Dumfriesshire, Borders
Country house hotel in the heart of Borders country which prides itself on its relaxed atmosphere and friendly service. The situation is brilliant for outdoorsy types and dogs are positively welcomed! A charming country escape with award winning rustic cuisine.Country EscapeFishing - Both trout and salmon fishing close by. A ghillie can be arranged for the day.Great walks - Lovely walks on the doorstepSights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Windlestraw Lodge 6 rooms from $135Walkerburn, Borders
Intimate hideaway in the heart of the Scottish Borders. Peaceful ambiance, good food, roaring fires, and lovely views of the countryside.Remote - Off the beaten track.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - I Escape, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
Skirling House 6 rooms from $184Borders
A charming B&B just over the Scottish border. Eclectic but traditional interiors and bedrooms with all the mod cons. An excellent kitchen serves fresh seasonal produce on request. Not too far from Glasgow or Edinburgh. The ideal stop off.Sights nearby - Not too far from Edinburgh or Glasgow.Great walks - Broughton Heights.Fishing - Excellent fishing nearby.Recommended by - Sawdays
Cavens Hotel 8 rooms from $220by Dumfries, Borders
An impressive country house set in a stunning location. Traditional homely rooms feature large sash windows and chintz fabrics. Stunning Scottish cuisine with award winning service. Plenty of country pursuits in the surrounding area. An ideal country escape.Country Escape - A charming country house set in 20 acres of woodland and lawns, with excellent walking and warm fires to great your return.Romantic Break - A cosy hideaway for two in this enchanting part of the country, with charming suites and romantic dining.Birdwatching - Pack the binoculars as there are two nearby reserves RSPB Mersehead and WWT Caerlaverock.Sights nearby - Explore the 17th century Drumlanrig Castle and the 13th century Sweetheart Abbey.Recommended by - Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide
Roxburghe Hotel 22 rooms from $239Borders
A comfortable country house hotel in beautiful countryside with great sporting opportunities and excellent food for hungry sportsmen and women.Fishing - Expert tuition available with Eion FairgrieveGolf - Championship courseBirdwatching - with Falconry ScotlandSpa
Knockinaam Lodge 9 rooms from $349Dumfries and Galloway, Borders
Steeped in history, this former hunting lodge has hosted Churchill and Eisenhower. Enjoy unspoilt views of the Scottish coastline from your cosy, warm palleted room, many of which have tiled fireplaces. There are 38 acres to explore and a Michelin star restaurant. Haute cuisine in the highlands!Great walks - Very close to the hotel begins the coastal Southern Upland Way. Galloway Hills & Glenkens also have excellent walking routes.Fishing - The hotel has its own fishing equipment. You can catch everything from cod, salmon to dogfish!Local markets - Art fans will enjoy a visit to Kirkcudbright, otherwise know as the 'Artists Town'.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Sawdays